The Navy Recruit Training Command has reportedly allowed some civilians to return to the base to lead religious services for recruits. Not all of the previously banned leaders were allowed to return as religious leaders because, according to the Navy, uniformed leaders were found instead — which the Navy said met the priority guidance on who was supposed to help lead services:
Following the sudden dismissal of a half-dozen religious leaders last month, commanders at the Great Lakes naval training center began the process Thursday of inviting back civilian volunteers to serve recruits who are Unitarian Universalists, Baha’is, Buddhists and Christian Scientists.
In the meantime, a spokesman said, the Navy Read more
In early April, the Navy commander of Recruit Training Command at Great Lakes — the basic training site for all incoming Sailors — told civilian volunteers they were no longer permitted to conduct religious services for recruits.
On the orders of Capt. Doug Pfeifle, the commanding officer of RTC, civilian volunteers for seven minority religious communities have been asked to stop conducting services.
An RTC official who spoke on background said the volunteers were asked to leave in accordance with Navy guidance, which stipulates that a uniformed chaplain or a religiously accredited military member should conduct the service before the service pursues other avenues.
Viewed optimistically, it appears to be a sincere action poorly executed or communicated. It seems the volunteer system had “gotten away from” the RTC leadership, and they found themselves unable to justify the program under Navy guidelines. It seems the RTC program was suffering from some logistical issues, including a formal way to control who could and could not conduct recruit services.
To be clear, the US military is not Read more
The Los Angeles Times is fast becoming a frequent commenter on all things military and religion, with the US Air Force Academy high on that list. In an unusual twist from the norm, its articles are biased toward the positive.
(For example, it published the original story about the baptism of US Marines to which Michael Weinstein objected, and most recently gave favorable coverage to the Camp Pendleton cross, now a controversy in its own right.)
In its most recent article on the topic, it notes the “Air Force Academy adapts to pagans, druids, witches and Wiccans:”
“We’re here to accommodate all religions, period,” [USAFA Chaplain (Maj) Darren] Duncan says. The building of the Cadet Chapel Falcon Circle on the hilltop, he says, is no different from the past conversion of chapel rooms into worship spaces that serve this year’s 11 Muslim, 16 Buddhist and 10 Hindu cadets. There are also 43 self-identified atheist cadets whose beliefs, or lack of them, Duncan says are also to be respected.
Never one to let good will go unspoilt, the article quotes Michael Weinstein as saying he Read more